With an innovative hybrid system, Honda’s family-friendly SUV is now more efficient and even more refined. Our readers gave it a go.
10 April 2019

The Honda CR-V is one of Britain’s best-loved SUVs. Now, it comes with an innovative hybrid powertrain – available on front-wheel and all-wheel drive models – that blends petrol and electric power to improve your fuel efficiency and lower your emissions, without changing the way you drive.

It has also been designed to be smoother, quieter and easier to use than other hybrids, while retaining the sporty response and handling you would expect from a Honda SUV – all without compromising interior comfort and refinement, or the practicality of the CR-V’s spacious luggage area.

Our Autocar road test team were certainly impressed with the CR-V Hybrid, giving it a four-star review. But we also wanted to know what real drivers think. So, we asked some Autocar and What Car? readers – including existing CR-V owners – to join us for a test drive, to see if they really can feel the difference.

Learn more at honda.co.uk/cars/new/cr-v-hybrid/overview.html

Intelligent hybrid thinking

Like most hybrids the CR-V Hybrid starts in EV Drive electric mode, with up to 1.2 miles of totally silent and zero-emissions all-electric range. Accelerate, and the intelligent Multi-Mode Drive (i-MMD) system automatically switches to Hybrid mode, which activates the 2.0-litre iVTEC petrol engine. 

Here’s the CR-V Hybrid’s key difference. Instead of directly driving the wheels, the petrol engine is used to generate electricity, while the electric motors drive the wheels. This means the petrol engine can use a principle – known as ‘the Atkinson cycle’ – to run at lower revs, making it more fuel efficient and quieter.

Our Verdict

Honda CR-V 2018 road test review - hero front

For its fourth-generation, Honda moves its long-established CR-V into full-size family SUV territory

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On a twisty road, the Deceleration Paddle Selectors behind the steering wheel let you control the amount of stopping force – and power regeneration – from the combination of the conventional brakes and electric motor resistance. 

When you need more power, the 2.0-litre petrol engine automatically connects directly to the wheels for Engine Drive mode, using a fixed-gear transmission for more efficient long-distance cruising.

More electric, more efficient

Because the CR-V Hybrid’s i-MMD automatically shifts modes for the best efficiency, you don’t have to do any extra thinking, or change the way you drive. The result is a smoother, more effortless hybrid experience, with more efficient electric power, more of the time.

The CR-V Hybrid typically runs in EV mode for 50% of the time at speeds around 40mph, and around 33% of the time at speeds around 62mph. That means average fuel economy of around 53.3mpg and CO2 emissions of 120g/km on front-wheel-drive models, and 51.4mpg with 126g/km on all-wheel drive models – much more efficient than standard petrol models.

And, because the CR-V Hybrid isn’t a plug-in hybrid, you don’t have to worry about fitting, finding or plugging in to electric chargers – at home, or out on the road. You can simply enjoy the benefits of improved fuel economy and lower emissions, with all the other great benefits of owning a CR-V.

Delivering through design

The CR-V Hybrid may drive differently, but elsewhere it’s pretty similar to the rest of the new, more advanced fifth-generation CR-V range. And that’s a good thing.

Sharp edges, muscular wheel arches and a swooping sporty profile deliver a form factor that’s one of the most aerodynamically efficient in its class, with an Active Shutter Grille further improving efficiency by only opening when airflow is needed for engine cooling. Sculpted LED headlights and LED rear lights work with the twin exhaust to deliver a sporty, high-tech finishing touch.

Short front and rear overhangs, a 30mm-longer wheelbase and large 18-inch alloy wheels as standard work together to deliver a solid sporty stance as well as more interior space for luggage and legroom. 

Inside, a soft-touch panel sweeps across the width of the cabin, with a choice of traditional classy wood or sporty modern silver-style trims, as well as cloth or leather seats. A large panoramic sunroof on the range-topping EX trim swathes the already spacious and open-feeling interior with even more light.

More space, more features

Up-front, the large 7-inch touchscreen and 7-inch full-colour Driver Information Interface give you easy control of all the CR-V Hybrid’s high-tech features – whether it’s hybrid dials that let you know how efficiently you’re driving, or navigation, music and phone information, with smartphone connectivity and apps for compatible devices through Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

In the back, the CR-V Hybrid’s wider stance and extended wheelbase deliver more space for people and their possessions, with 50mm more rear legroom, a wealth of large storage bins and cubby holes around the cabin, and plenty of USB charging points for front and rear passengers.

The luggage bay boasts from 497 litres of load volume up to 1,694 litres and 1,830mm of loading length – easily enough for a typical mountain bike – when the 60:40 split rear seats are folded down totally flat in one simple fluid action, using the remote boot-mounted levers.

On the range-topping EX trim a hands-free power tailgate helps to make loading even easier, while a multi-angle rear-view camera, parking sensors and Cross Traffic Monitor deliver even better visibility when parking.

A refined sense of safety

All of this sits on the CR-V’s fifth generation chassis, which has been designed to be lighter, stronger and stiffer, delivering enhanced safety, improved fuel efficiency and more responsive handling, while also reducing road noise to offer a more refined driving experience.

On selected trim and engine combinations, an enhanced all-wheel drive – using Honda’s Intelligent Control System – works with 30mm more ground clearance to deliver improved performance in low-traction conditions and genuine all-terrain capability. 

Every element of the CR-V Hybrid has been designed to reduce noise – whether it’s the improved aerodynamics and cleverly designed body panels that reduce wind ‘boom’, or the intelligent use of sealants and insulators. Active Noise Cancellation technology works like high-tech headphones to reduce low-frequency noise in the cabin. The result is a much calmer driving experience

Under the skin are plenty of Honda Sensing active safety technologies – including features such as Intelligent Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Keeping Assist, and Traffic Sign Recognition with Intelligent Speed Assistance, which all help to take the pressure off when driving. 

There’s also Blind Spot Information, Forward Collision Warning and Collision Mitigation Braking System, and Lane Departure Warning and Road Departure Mitigation, which help to keep you safer.

As our readers found, the CR-V Hybrid offers a more efficient drive, while retaining all that we know and love about the CR-V. It’s an SUV that offers the same great formula, but where you can feel the difference.

Learn more at honda.co.uk/cars/new/cr-v-hybrid/overview.html

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